What's Hot
What's Going On


Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.


OW on Twitter
OW on Facebook
Print Email


Live Active Cultures

Seth stage-manages a manatee and meets a mermaid at Three Sisters Springs

Photo: , License: N/A

If you want to walk the Three Sisters boardwalk yourself, you’ll have to wait for the next open house on Feb. 11, though there are plans to build a visitors center and allow full-time public access. In the meantime, though it’s normally impossible to get the view I had on Saturday, it’s ironically easy to get an even closer look.

Though the land around the springs is protected, the river itself is a legally navigable waterway, accessible to anyone with a multimillion-dollar home on the canal or a few bucks for one of the area’s ubiquitous dive boats and kayak rentals. I watched hundreds of swimmers and paddlers rampage through the water, splashing inches above the peaceful giants. Rangers and volunteers stood by, helpless to do much more than shout warnings and issue an occasional ticket to the most egregious offenders of a vaguely worded ordinance against harassing manatees. Several dozen sea cows cowered in a small roped-off section a few hundred feet square, seemingly taking shelter from interlopers in the only tiny area mandated human-free. Here is a perfect example of what happens when wildlife conservation conflicts with property rights and tourism taxes, turning an oasis into an overcrowded theme park – money wins, manatees lose.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus